Consumer News

Blood Pressure Drugs Recalled Over Cancer-Causing Components

Torrent Pharmaceuticals has announced a recall of blood-pressure drugs recently found with a cancer-linked chemical. The company temporarily suspended the sale of widely used losartan potassium tablets across the U.S. 

The decision follows a report by federal health officials that some medications widely used in the country are contaminated with either N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) or N-nitrosodiethylamine (NDEA).

Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis also stopped delivery of generic versions of its heartburn drug Zantac in the past week due to the chemical. Torrent followed the move on Thursday and recalled hypertension tablets that contain NMBA, Wink News reported.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said many of the recalled blood-pressure drugs over the past year were manufactured in China and India. Officials believe the contamination occurred due to chemical reactions during the production process.

This is not the first time Torrent recalled a product. Since the summer in 2018, the company suspended distribution of more than 300 lots of blood-pressure medications because of contamination.

But Torrent is just one of the many manufacturers that have been recalling drugs due to potentially harmful chemicals. The list includes Aurobindo Pharma, Camber Pharmaceuticals, Legacy Pharmaceuticals, Macleods Pharmaceuticals, Prinston Pharmaceuticals, Sandoz Novartis and Teva Pharmaceuticals.

Drug Recalls in U.S.

Despite the growing number of drug makers making recalls, the FDA should increase efforts to monitor companies and prevent public health threats, according to Adam Garber, consumer watchdog at U.S. PIRG.

The agency “should be inspecting every version of this medication, since it seems to be a systemic problem, and it’s multiple manufacturers that we’re talking about,” Garber told CBS MoneyWatch. “At this point we should be looking at alternative versions, and stopping the sale of the versions that do have these impurities.” 

An FDA spokesperson said there are alternative versions already available for people affected by the recalls. So far the agency listed 43 blood pressure drugs that are safe for use. 

“Because ARBs treat serious medical conditions, the FDA urges patients to continue taking their current medicine until a doctor or pharmacist gives a replacement or a different treatment option,” the spokesperson said. 

Drugs A pile of medications. Pixabay